Earlier this year, Nvidia promised us that we’ll see Tegra 4i devices by the end of the year, but for whatever reason, it seems Tegra 4i has been pushed to Q1 or Q2 of next year. Tegra 4i is a chip based on a latest version of a Cortex A9 (a little more powerful than before), that’s also clocked higher at 2.3 Ghz, and it comes with an integrated soft-modem (Nvidia can change the supported bands with a software update).
Tegra 5 is the next-gen successor of Tegra 4, although in many ways, it won’t be truly next-gen. For starters, it will most likely arrive at 28nm, and while competitors may not switch to 20nm early next year, they likely will by the second part of the year (when they go 64-bit/ARMv8), leaving Nvidia once again behind in process technology.
Speaking of 64-bit, Tegra 5 will remain 32-bit, as it will continue to use Cortex A15 in 2014. That’s also unfortunate, as I’d rather see the industry move faster to ARMv8 processors, so everyone is future-proofed, and so Google gets to push a 64-bit version of Android to everyone. That way we can all embrace this next-gen architecture, and leave the old one behind as soon as possible. But Nvidia is one of the companies that will keep people behind on 32-bit processors.
There is one area where I aspect the Tegra 5 to excel, though, and that’s graphics. With over 300 GFlops of power, high energy efficiency, and support for the latest full OpenGL 4.4, Tegra 5 will come very close to offering PC-class graphics on mobile devices, and it will also make it easier for developers to port their PC games to Tegra 5-powered devices.
The issue I have with Nvidia, though, is that they always seem to be late with releasing their own products, which leads to them becoming much less exciting when everyone else has reached the same level of performance. Even Tegra 4i was supposed to be released this year, and now it may not even arrive until Q2 2014.
The Maxwell and Denver powered Tegra 6 was also supposed to arrive in 2014, yet they delayed it by a whole year. So I’d say these sort of delays are by far Nvidia’s biggest problems within the company. They need to rein in on the processes or employees that keep leaving them behind with their product line-ups, otherwise they’ll never be too popular in the mobile market.